“They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart.”
2 Samuel 6:6. NIV
In 1885, Karl Benz gave our world the first gasoline powered automobile, and manufacturers have tweaked his confounded contraption ever since. More than three-quarters of a century later, Ford Motor Company tried to rally baby boomers with the slogan, “Ford has a better idea,” and replaced the “o” in Ford with a light bulb to symbolize inspiration and encourage sales.
Free enterprise has made our nation great, but a product that has “new and improved” stamped on its package doesn’t always mean it is. How often have you tried a new and improved version only to return to the tried and proven one? Some things are so timeless, recognizable, and ingenious that it doesn’t make sense to try and improve them. It’s hard to perfect the paper clip, a #2 pencil, Post-It-Notes, chap stick, or the fork and spoon—although some have made a stab at it with the spork. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
During the reign of Israel’s King Saul, the Ark of the Covenant (a gold-covered wooden chest made to house the Tablets of the Law and seat the Glory of God) rested in the home of his son Abinadab. When David became king, he vowed to return the Ark to the Holy city of Jerusalem. Instead of the Levites carrying it with poles on their shoulders as God had initially instructed Moses (Exodus 25:12-14), they attempted to transport the Ark by a Philistine method and placed it on a new cart. When the oxen stumbled, Uzzah, the son of Abinadab, took hold of the Ark to steady it. Instantly, God in his anger struck him dead with fire.
Whoa! God’s response to Uzzah’s good intention seems harsh, but no matter how innocent, his irreverent act violated God’s command not to touch the Ark. Thankfully, we live in the day of God’s grace, or any one of us could go the way of Uzzah. “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15). We must continue to revere God and honor his Holy ways.
When was the last time you failed to heed God’s instructions? Became impatient with his timing? Tried to help him out? For me—it’s not been that long. 2 Samuel 6 with its “hands off” message quickly came to the forefront. Regardless of what I thought—I didn’t have a better idea.
I heeded God’s warning. Not because I feared an untimely demise, but because I knew meddling would hinder the work of the Spirit in my situation and result in the death of God’s best.
No matter how good our intentions, attempting to tweak perfection is always a bad idea.